This Hari Raya, the Malaysian airspace will be buzzing with flights as AirAsia is adding more flights to cater to the festive crowds. Whether you are travelling for balik kampung or a short holiday, here’s a guide on what to do when you’re at these five Malaysian destinations.
1. Alor Setar
The state of Kedah is known for its vast paddy fields. In fact, it is known as the Ricebowl of Malaysia as it produces over half of the country’s supply of rice. And if you’re a fan of nasi lemak, chicken rice or banana leaf rice, you’ll know that we Malaysians love our rice! So why not visit a paddy field and see how it starts off? Granted you won’t see any paddy farmers planting the paddy because they will be away celebrating Hari Raya, but you can still check out the lush green fields and of course, get a few #nature shots for Instagram.
Visit the Kedah Paddy Museum. On the outside, this three-storey building resembles bushels of rice stalks. Inside, you can discover how rice is cultivated in Kedah and even see the different types of machinery used to process paddy. The main feature of the museum is located on the third floor – a mural that depicts locals farmers in paddy fields as well as the lush Kedahan scenery. Sixty North Korean artists were commissioned to create this masterpiece. We can say with certainty that you will leave Alor Setar with a new-found respect for rice and paddy farmers.
GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies daily from Kuala Lumpur to Alor Setar. Book your seats now at airasia.com
2. Kota Bharu
Kota Bharu is the capital of Kelantan, a state located on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Often overlooked, this town has plenty to offer visitors. Culture buffs should not miss Wat Phothikyan or the Twin Dragon Temple because of the two dragons that surround the entire temple grounds. The focal point of this temple is the 108-metre Buddha statue, which was officially opened to the public in 2008. The tallest Buddha statue in Southeast Asia, the statue is made of white mosaic and there are images of Buddha carved on the inside walls of the statue. And just to add a touch of whimsy, there’s an adorable statue of a T-Rex within the temple compound.
GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies daily from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bharu. Book your seats now at airasia.com
3. Kuala Terengganu
The capital city of Terengganu, Kuala Terengganu is often the stopover point for those heading to the breathtaking islands of Redang and Kapas. But the city itself has plenty to offer. One iconic landmark of Kuala Terengganu is a floating mosque that sits majestically above a man-made lake. Made of glass and steel with crystal domes and an interesting mix of Moorish and Gothic elements, the crystal domes gleam on a sunny day, and are especially beautiful against the azure blue of the lake. But most visitors come at sunset when the mosque is bathed in the evening rays that give it a beautiful pink hue. It is also a great time for you to get those gorgeous #sunset images for Instagram.
You can also join a heritage tour of the city onthe Cas Ligas Bus. The bus itself is highly interesting as it is designed to resemble a traditional Kuala Terengganu house. Definitely not something you’ll see every day.
GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies daily from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Terengganu. Book your seats now at airasia.com
Tawau is Sabah’s third largest town and its location on the coast means that you’ll be afforded with plenty of stunning ocean views. That aside, one must pay a visit to the Teck Guan Cocoa Museum. If you’re passionate about chocolate, you’ll definitely not regret your visit. The museum details the complete history of the cocoa plant. You can go on a guided museum tour to learn about cocoa production including a look inside its processing plant and manufacturing factory. Saving the best for last, the final part of the tour takes you to the cocoa sampling kitchen, where you’ll get to sample a variety of chocolates. Yummeh! In case you’re wondering, the quality of cocoa produced here boasts superior quality that big names like Godiva and M&Ms use it for their products. There’s also a gift shop if you wish to purchase more chocolatey goodness to take home. Entrance fees are MYR25 (adults) and MYR15 (children and senior citizens), and MYR35 (adults) and MYR25 (children and senior citizens) for non-MyKad holders. Book in advance.
GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies daily from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau. Book your seats now at airasia.com
Sandakan is the second largest town in the state of Sabah after the capital, Kota Kinabalu. Known as the Nature City, Sandakan is rich in biodiversity so it’s a sin to come all the way here and not check out the wildlife. One in particular is the proboscis monkey. Native to Borneo and not found anywhere else in the world, these unique creatures are also called long-nosed monkeys for their unusually long noses. To see these proboscis monkeys, visit the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. Located in the centre of a mangrove, here, you can get up close and personal with these creatures, learn more about them and the various initiatives being taken to save them from extinction. There are also chalets available in the sanctuary if you wish to spend a night or two.
While you’re in Sandakan, don’t miss the town’s famous delicacy – UFO tart. The tart has a vanilla-flavoured cake base with a rich and creamy custard top. If you’re wondering about the origins of its name, the tart got its name from its odd shape that resembles a UFO. #nowyouknow Strange name aside, it’s absolutely delicious and goes extremely well with a cup of hot coffee.
GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies daily from Kuala Lumpur to Sandakan. Book your seats now at airasia.com